Book recs for defiant, tantrummy 4 year old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-03-2014, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My newly 4 year old seems like she's not catching on to the idea of "compliance" or learning to manage her upsets as well as her peers, and I need some help figuring out a consistent approach to help her. I realize that it's normal for a kid this age to be argumentative and defiant, but the tantrums she throws are not physically easy for me to manage. The two big issues are her 1. Arguing, amending, or refusing literally every request I make of her and 2. Throwing very physical tantrums, screaming ad loud as she can, etc. when she's told "no" or when I follow through with discipline.

I will add that, although we have never done too much in the way of consequences or time outs or anything, I am not a permissive parent and I don't have a history of giving in to tantrums - although I will offer hugs and consolation to help her through. My biggest concern is that she responds with dramatics to every.single.thing rather than taking any disappointments in stride, or being sad/angry but resigned. It seems like I see her peers doing a lot of "I don't want to!" while pouting and stomping along behind their mom, while I have to drag DD, flailing and shrieking and trying to run away from me in parking lots.
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#2 of 12 Old 05-04-2014, 06:02 AM
 
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Here is one for her: http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Through-Anger-Learning-Along%C2%AE/dp/1575423464/ref=pd_sim_b_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=0VEREJB89GFJJS0MK0JS

 

For you, I think getting on board with an approach that you can stick to might help. Figuring out her temperament and what's part of that might help. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060739665/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399208428&sr=8-1&keywords=kurcinka

 

After temperament, look into Ross Greene's approach to dealing with noncompliance. 

 

Four year old's are tough and I'm not sure why more isn't written about it!!!


 
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#3 of 12 Old 05-04-2014, 12:08 PM
 
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The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child

 

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0547085826

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#4 of 12 Old 05-04-2014, 12:14 PM
 
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Yes Kazdin is excellent as well!


 
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#5 of 12 Old 05-04-2014, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All of these look like great recommendations. Thank you.

 

I know I've heard of Ross Greene, but I haven't ready anything by him yet.  I'll have to check him out.  I actually just read a few parenting articles in the past week or so the contained some watered-down Kazdin, and I've been testing those methods out a bit.  It seems like it could help, although I'm definitely seeing some backlash at this point, and I'm not really sure how to apply it when my DD is going bazonkers in public.  Definitely interested to read more about that approach.  It's funny, because I really don't want to claim that my very young little girl "has ODD," but at this point in her development she certainly displays all of the attributes, along with some very poor emotional regulation skills.  We have a second child coming along, so I want to make sure to try to read up and help her along as much as I can while I still have the ability, you know?

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#6 of 12 Old 05-05-2014, 06:21 AM
 
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Certainly avoid using any labels like defiant or OCD around your kid, because this is counterproductive and works against progress. It's a good idea to never give a name to any of the unwanted behavior.  And, hopefully, you will get to the point where professionals are wanting to make use a term like OCD.  The labels are operationally meaningful only for getting insurance or prescribing drugs, I think.

 

Also, it's often just not accurate to identify the kid with the unwanted behavior.   The behaviors are typically learned behaviors, behaviors that have been reinforced, so the kid's environment is a factor.  If a kid's behavior changes a few days or weeks after the parent's change their pattern of responses, then it's not accurate to identify that behavior with the kid, it was also an aspect of the past pattern of interactions.

 

I have read that Kazdin did not choose the title of his book, and that he does consider labeling kid as defiant as important.

 

Concerning problems in public, there are a few approaches. (1) Just do the right thing and ignore the people around you,  they generally will not interfere unless it's a library. (2) Immediately leave.  (3)  Play pretend games as home where you reinforce the behavior you want. (4)  Go on outings with the kid that are really just training runs,  you pick an easier location like an almost deserted store. prepare the kid in advance to know what kind of reinforcement to expect for wanted behavior, and be prepared to give positive feedback for success, and set the kid up for success by choosing a relatively easy situation for the kid to maintain self-control.  You can build on small improvements from pretend games or training runs.

 

Also,  positive attention to the positive opposite (self-control being the positive opposite of tantrums) will tend to generalize to all environments eventually, so notice the smallest steps in the right direction any time at home or on a outing and give them positive attention.  And it does not have to be perfection.  Just not tantruming can be giving positive attention as an indication or self-control, but never refer to it in negative terms as in "not tantruming"

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#7 of 12 Old 05-05-2014, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Certainly avoid using any labels like defiant or OCD around your kid, because this is counterproductive and works against progress. It's a good idea to never give a name to any of the unwanted behavior.  And, hopefully, you will get to the point where professionals are wanting to make use a term like OCD.  The labels are operationally meaningful only for getting insurance or prescribing drugs, I think.

 

Also, it's often just not accurate to identify the kid with the unwanted behavior.   The behaviors are typically learned behaviors, behaviors that have been reinforced, so the kid's environment is a factor.  If a kid's behavior changes a few days or weeks after the parent's change their pattern of responses, then it's not accurate to identify that behavior with the kid, it was also an aspect of the past pattern of interactions.

 

I have read that Kazdin did not choose the title of his book, and that he does consider labeling kid as defiant as important.

 

Concerning problems in public, there are a few approaches. (1) Just do the right thing and ignore the people around you,  they generally will not interfere unless it's a library. (2) Immediately leave.  (3)  Play pretend games as home where you reinforce the behavior you want. (4)  Go on outings with the kid that are really just training runs,  you pick an easier location like an almost deserted store. prepare the kid in advance to know what kind of reinforcement to expect for wanted behavior, and be prepared to give positive feedback for success, and set the kid up for success by choosing a relatively easy situation for the kid to maintain self-control.  You can build on small improvements from pretend games or training runs.

 

Also,  positive attention to the positive opposite (self-control being the positive opposite of tantrums) will tend to generalize to all environments eventually, so notice the smallest steps in the right direction any time at home or on a outing and give them positive attention.  And it does not have to be perfection.  Just not tantruming can be giving positive attention as an indication or self-control, but never refer to it in negative terms as in "not tantruming"

 

Thanks for the advice, tadamsmar.  I definitely want to be clear that I don't think my DD has ODD, but believe her behavior to be part developmental, part learned, part temperament at this point.  At the moment, all that is combining into the characteristics of ODD, so I'm finding the ODD techniques helpful for getting through this.  I completely agree that there is a danger in labelling.  I even feel like there's a danger for me in making her feel like she's been "bad" all day that really REALLY backfires for both of us.  So, yes, I'm trying to be very careful about that and, like you said, working on positive attention.  I agree, also, about the "just not tantrumming" being a really positive step.  That's actually about as much as I would expect of her at this age anyway.  I would be thrilled(!) for her to sulk, pout, whine, etc. as opposed to flailing and hitting and screaming like a banshee. 

 

As far as the tantrums in public thing, I do okay if she's constrained (in a shopping cart, for example).  If she's NOT constrained, I can't just let her tantrum, because the tantrums involve bolting away from me, kicking around on the ground, and throwing things.  It's primarily the running away that's a problem.  And as far as "just leaving," I'm not sure how to physically make that happen anymore, since she's gotten pretty big, and I've gotten pretty pregnant :)  I can't very well drag her along by the arm as she refuses to walk, and I can't carry her without her squirming mightily to get down and hitting/biting me to escape.   I did have some success the other day with telling her that she could feel free to flip out when we got to the car, but that we had to cross a busy road and a parking lot in between, and she simply had to walk.  And, amazingly enough, she did! 

 

Looking forward to starting on Ross Greene tonight.  I've heard that his approach is very different from Kazdin's, so I'm curious.

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#8 of 12 Old 05-06-2014, 04:51 AM
 
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Hugs. I remember being pretty pregnant and worried about my daughter bolting during a meltdown and/or me not being able to physically restrain her when she had a tantrum on the street. It was just plain scary.

I don't have much to add except that it is really interesting that she could control herself until she got to the car in the instance you described above. I would capitalize on that time... It is an indicator that she is capable of managing her behavior even when she is having these strong feelings. So I would talk to her about it during a quiet time. Tell her you noticed how hard she tried that day (give positive reinforcement), and that you know she is capable if she works on it (growth mindset). Then give her some new ways to express herself when she is angry.... Basically, coach her on what to do and frame it like it's just another skill to learn (and that you're confident she will.) It might give her the confidence boost she needs to pull out of it, if you're noticing a downward spiral as your due date approaches.
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#9 of 12 Old 05-06-2014, 06:12 AM
 
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I don't have much to add except that it is really interesting that she could control herself until she got to the car in the instance you described above. I would capitalize on that time... It is an indicator that she is capable of managing her behavior even when she is having these strong feelings. So I would talk to her about it during a quiet time. Tell her you noticed how hard she tried that day (give positive reinforcement), and that you know she is capable if she works on it (growth mindset). Then give her some new ways to express herself when she is angry.... Basically, coach her on what to do and frame it like it's just another skill to learn (and that you're confident she will.) It might give her the confidence boost she needs to pull out of it, if you're noticing a downward spiral as your due date approaches.

In addition to recalling it later,  give her immediate positive reinforcement for her effort when she demonstrates self-control.

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#10 of 12 Old 05-06-2014, 06:36 AM
 
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Looking forward to starting on Ross Greene tonight.  I've heard that his approach is very different from Kazdin's, so I'm curious.

They are different and they target different possible causes, but in practice the methods are not inconsistent.  A method that would be inconsistent with Kazdin would require that you lavish attention on the tantrums and thereby engage in unwitting conditioning.

 

For a tantrum too destructive to be ignored, Kazdin recommends using pretend games where the kid engages in "good" pretend tantrums that are not destructive, give them positive feedback in these games and the remind the kid later in a real situation an encourage "good" tantrums.  Then you can eventually redirect your attention from harmless trantrums to the opposite behavior. (Not sure that you would get this from the "Kazdin-lite" stuff you read.)

 

Greene targets tantrums as a developmental delay.  But there was research starting 50 years ago showing that tantrums or similar behavior could be ramped up and down my as much as 40-fold within 2 weeks simply by adults redirecting their attention,  so we know that it all can't be due to a developmental delay. Kazdin, on the other hand, ignores skill-training as far as I can tell, even to address grades in school - but I found that skills training was important for my daughter.   So, I don't think either of these limited approaches will always work best.

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#11 of 12 Old 05-08-2014, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They are different and they target different possible causes, but in practice the methods are not inconsistent.  A method that would be inconsistent with Kazdin would require that you lavish attention on the tantrums and thereby engage in unwitting conditioning.

 

For a tantrum too destructive to be ignored, Kazdin recommends using pretend games where the kid engages in "good" pretend tantrums that are not destructive, give them positive feedback in these games and the remind the kid later in a real situation an encourage "good" tantrums.  Then you can eventually redirect your attention from harmless trantrums to the opposite behavior. (Not sure that you would get this from the "Kazdin-lite" stuff you read.)

 

Greene targets tantrums as a developmental delay.  But there was research starting 50 years ago showing that tantrums or similar behavior could be ramped up and down my as much as 40-fold within 2 weeks simply by adults redirecting their attention,  so we know that it all can't be due to a developmental delay. Kazdin, on the other hand, ignores skill-training as far as I can tell, even to address grades in school - but I found that skills training was important for my daughter.   So, I don't think either of these limited approaches will always work best.

 

Well, I think we might be an example of the tantrums ramping down by 40% in 2 weeks.  She is doing MUCH better at responding when she doesn't get her way, and somewhat better at complying with requests without making a big noisy fuss.  We're still having the most trouble with situations when we're out of the house, but had a big success at gymnastics the other day when she gave me a grouchy "I guess I'll come" after staunchly refusing several times to come get changed after class.  I'm trying to use the Kazdin-lite WITHOUT adding consequences that we haven't historically used, like time-outs, taking away toys, etc., and I'm happy to see that it appears to be working so far.  I really dislike "threat-based" discipline, but will descend to it if I must.  Today at the park I had to use a "I will not be able to take you to the playground anymore if you refuse to leave when I say it is time" type of threat.  Which worked, and there was no tantrum, and I really kind of mean it because I'm so not willing to chase after her and have a huge fight every time I take her there.  It still felt kind of contrived and manipulative, though. 

 

I REALLY like the idea of practicing "good tantrums."  Definitely going to work on that. 

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#12 of 12 Old 05-08-2014, 06:23 PM
 
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Well, I think we might be an example of the tantrums ramping down by 40% in 2 weeks.  She is doing MUCH better at responding when she doesn't get her way, and somewhat better at complying with requests without making a big noisy fuss.  We're still having the most trouble with situations when we're out of the house, but had a big success at gymnastics the other day when she gave me a grouchy "I guess I'll come" after staunchly refusing several times to come get changed after class.  I'm trying to use the Kazdin-lite WITHOUT adding consequences that we haven't historically used, like time-outs, taking away toys, etc., and I'm happy to see that it appears to be working so far.  I really dislike "threat-based" discipline, but will descend to it if I must.  Today at the park I had to use a "I will not be able to take you to the playground anymore if you refuse to leave when I say it is time" type of threat.  Which worked, and there was no tantrum, and I really kind of mean it because I'm so not willing to chase after her and have a huge fight every time I take her there.  It still felt kind of contrived and manipulative, though. 

 

I REALLY like the idea of practicing "good tantrums."  Definitely going to work on that. 

Wow! Yay!!

 

By the way, I am not sure it is a 'threat' to say I won't be able to take you to the playground anymore. If you mean it honestly, as in, "this is no fun for me, I'm not going to be eager to bring you here again," then it is really a natural consequence as opposed to a threat. At least that is the way I see it!

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